"(15) Thus says the LORD,"A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation, and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children Because they are no more." [Jeremiah 31:15 NASB]
What has happened?
“Orlando, Florida (CNN)An American-born man who'd pledged allegiance to ISIS gunned down 50 people early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation's worst terror attack since 9/11, authorities said.
* The gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Florida, was interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 but was not found to be a threat, the FBI said.
* Mateen called 911 during the attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers, according to a U.S. official.
* Orlando police shot and killed Mateen.
* Mateen's ex-wife said she thinks he was mentally ill.”
Lord, we are overwhelmed and shocked at the loss of so many lives. So many wounded. How could this happen? How can it be?
Pour out your care, comfort and support to the families and friends of those killed. Help the doctors have wisdom in caring for those in critical condition. Provide help to those who are dealing with the post traumatic trauma of surviving such an event. Lord, hear our cry. Come into the midst of this mourning, pain, and suffering and provide your help. LORD, we need YOUR help!
Lord God, creator, judge, redeemer, and restorer, come to us now and show us your grace, greatness, and goodness in the midst of this tragic loss of life. Amen
How are we to understand this event?
This mass murder is tragic, sad, horrible, and painful.
In everything else we say we must not lose sight of the victims, the pain of their families, and the wounded. The victims must be remembered and mourned.
How are we to understand this event?
At the moment it seems it was the act of one man and not part of some grand conspiracy. This may change.
But the connection with views of ISIS is largely in the minds of those who associate with them. Some mentally and emotionally unstable people can feel empowered by seeing their actions as connected to some global movement. Mental illness does not normally make people violent but for a few these issues can become part of how their distorted perspective is expressed.
If ISIS did rule in Orlando there is little doubt that such actions would be seen as justice, since their policy has been the brutal murder of in same-sex romantic relationships as immoral. They have been known to kill people for being gay as part of their vision of forming a “godly society.” They see those who are in same-sex relationships as “animals”.
Now it must be understood that the United States and the Western World that has been moving since the 1960s into a culture that wants to put an emphasis on sexual freedom of expression and takes a lawless attitude towards nearly all sexual activity is in a “head-on collision” with the Islamic legalistic perspective which is complicated, but sees open acts of homosexuality as crimes that in many Islamic countries is illegal and can lead to the death penalty.
“Same-sex intercourse carries the death penalty in five officially Muslim nations: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Sudan, and Yemen.  It formerly carried the death penalty in Afghanistan under the Taliban, and in Iraq under a 2001 decree by Saddam Hussein. The legal situation in the United Arab Emirates is unclear. In many Muslim nations, such as Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria or the Maldives, homosexuality is punished with jail time, fines or corporal punishment. In some Muslim-majority nations, such as Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, or Mali, same-sex intercourse is not forbidden by law. However, in Egypt gays have been the victims of laws against "morality".” (For more information on the Islamic approach to homosexuality see http://www.religionfacts.com/homosexuality/islam )
So in one culture the open expression of homosexual activities is being promoted and even the use of public bathrooms are influenced by the concern to show openness to every shade of sexual feelings while in the Islamic cultures such actions can be seen to be crimes worthy of capital punishment.
Interaction then between these cultures would clearly lead to a “train wreck” since they could not be more radically different.
Since Western cultures are also very pluralistic and include people holding to the most liberal views concerning sexuality and people who see such actions as worthy of execution, then this creates an environment where clashes of opinion are unavoidable.
To be healthy these disagreements must be non-violent, respectful, civil, and tolerant. Also important values of Western culture at its best, but these attitudes can be easily lost.
Currently, the idea of being respectful and civil in disagreements seems to many to an attribute that is being lost, more and more. Violent actions and words are all too often coming into our public lives and politics. We are not agreeing to disagree in an agreeable manner very well many times.
A Christian attitude towards those with same-sex attractions or who fall under the definition of “LGBT” should be from my perspective very different than the views promoted by ISIS. In summary my view would be:
1. Those who would define themselves as “LGBT” are made in God’s image and are to be treated with respect, compassion, and love. They are not to be abused verbally or physically. People of the “LGBT” community can be responsible citizens and have many praiseworthy characteristics, the same as all other people made in God’s image.
2. Because of the rebellion of humanity, sexual desires in all human beings are misdirected, distorted, and wounded. So misuse of our sexuality is part of the human struggle now “East of Eden”
3. Historic Christianity would see the desires of those in the “LGBT” community as being one way of many that sexual passions can be misdirected, distorted, and wounded. I would not see same-sex romantic relationships as part of God’s will for any human being.
4. I believe that coming into a true redemptive relationship with the Messiah Jesus as one’s personal prophet can bring substantial healing to every person’s sexual desires including those in the “LGBT” community. Such healing can be difficult and a process but is part of being a disciple of the Messiah Jesus.
As the Apostle Paul expressed to those in a culture that largely accepted “LGBT” behavior.
"(9) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, (10) nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) Such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." [1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NASB]
5. It is clear then that one of the areas of repentance or a change of mind for people coming to consider Christianity would be their understanding of God’s will concerning their use and expression of their sexuality.
6. There should be civil and respectful discussions between those holding the historic view of Christianity and those in the “LGBT” community to increase understanding and sensitivity towards each other’s views. We will have to learn to agree to disagree in an agreeable manner.
7. I believe that Christians should strongly grieve over, and oppose any who would physically attack the “LGBT” community. We should seek to protect the physical safety of all those in the “LGBT” community. No crimes of physical violence against them should be tolerated.
So I believe that a Christian perspective is very different than the worldview set forth in Islam and especially ISIS.
How should we understand this event?
With lamentations and sadness. Crying out to the LORD for help.
Seeking what answers we can to avoid such events. Recognizing the protection against lone gunmen is very hard to accomplish. This brings up the struggle against freedom and security. How do we keep people safe from the few who would do such harm without taking freedom away from many that do no harm?
No easy answers “East of Eden”
So we must pray for wisdom and humbly work together seeking the common good for all those in The Republic.
Lord, have mercy on us all. Lord, especially have mercy on those who have lost loved ones and who are wounded. Lord, come now and help them! Amen